A state-of-the-art landfill, recycling center, composting facility and collection fleet are located at the ACUA Environmental Park in Egg Harbor Township.
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By Sara Verrillo, Digital Media Specialist
To foster an appreciation for the environment while reducing
waste, Egg Harbor Township School District recently completed a waste audit at
each of its schools with the help of ACUA and its teachers and students.
The district has developed a robust environmental education program
over the years and recently become involved in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools
program. One of the priority actions under the program is performing a waste audit. The school saw this as an opportunity to strengthen recycling and
involve students in implementing improvements.
“It was natural to get the students involved in the waste
audits so they understood the importance of recycling and also the fiscal
responsibility for the district to reduce waste,” said Director of Development
Ellen Gregory. “The waste audits went hand-in-hand with other STEM projects
taking place in the district.”
The first step of the audit included a walk-through
inspection to evaluate how waste and recycling is collected throughout the
Some questions asked during this
The next step was emptying trash and recycling containers to
analyze their contents for areas of improvement. The materials were separated by
trash, recycling and compostable materials/food waste. Despite the ickiness
involved (or perhaps because of it), students enjoyed being a part of this
After performing the audits, ACUA recorded weaknesses and
recommendations for each area visited. The weights of each material were
recorded to provide an accurate recycling rate.
For the most part, students were doing a great job of
separating materials accurately. For example, the trash at EHT High School
consisted mostly of non-compostable food, plastic baggies, Styrofoam, paper
napkins, paper towels and straws. The recycling consisted of paper, cardboard,
plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles and milk cartons.
The main areas highlighted for improvement included adding
more recycling containers to cafeterias, common areas and office workspaces as
well as adding clear signage to note what each bin accepts.
Because many of the schools have small compost operations in
place, we also recommended adding and identifying compost bins throughout the
Schools play a particularly important role in reducing waste
because they are among the largest waste generators in the county. A waste audit can help reduce trash, which will
save money, and can be a great tool for educating students about the ways we impact
ACUA is happy to perform a waste audit, provide outdoor
recycling containers and share educational materials to get your program going.
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ACUA Environmental Park6700 Delilah RoadEgg Harbor Township, NJ 08234
ACUA Wastewater Treatment Plant1801 Absecon Blvd.Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Mailing AddressP.O. Box 996Pleasantville, NJ 08232
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